Sky-rocketing onion prices to topple Congress?

The average Indian kitchens' staple vegetable- the humble onion, is in news ever since its prices have gone through the roof across the country.

Onion- The Kitchen King

Onions are undoubtedly, an inevitable ingredient of any Indian classical dish. Without onions, it is impossible to bring the required flavor and deliciousness to the food.

For poor people who can't afford two-meal a day properly, rotis with onions with a spray of salt can pep up their taste buds.

In markets, the flying price of onions have reached up to Rs 80 and they may hit Rs 100 per kg in the coming days.


Humble onions "politicised"

Although the sky-rocketing onion prices have burnt a hole in the pockets of consumers, but "politically sensitive" onions are bringing more tears into the embattled UPA- led Congress government's eyes.

Even the renowned astrologer Anuj K Shukla has predicted the downfall of Congress due to onion price in the Lok Sabha elections and the Legislative Assembly elections this year and next year.

Many people are aware of the fact that onions make us cry because they produce a chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide which stimulates the eyes' lachrymal glands so they release tears.

But, it is the other way round for our politicians because now onions are going to bring tears in politicians' eyes even without being chopped!

The history is witness to the fact that onion price rise issue has been used by parties to gain "political mileage", time and again.

More the prices of onions are going up, more the government is left sweating and teary-eyed, fearing its future prospects.

In the past also, when onion prices reached out of pockets of common man, then it led to the downfall of the government.

In 1998, the BJP paid heavily in Delhi due to onion price rise. At that time, onion price in Delhi went up to Rs 60 per kg when the BJP leader Sushma Swaraj was the chief minister of the national capital.

Incidentally in 1998, the day BJP government lost power in Delhi Assembly elections, the onion prices came down to Rs 10 per kg.

Pricey Onions serving Opposition's advantage?

Now, is the history repeating itself? It seems that the BJP has got a golden opportunity to avenge its 15-year-old defeat in Delhi, with rising prices of onions because of lack of adequate supply, to its advantage.

It can be said that with a firm eye on upcoming Assembly elections in Delhi, the BJP has already started 'selling' onions at relatively nominal prices between Rs 25 to Rs 40 per kg at all the 70 assembly constituencies.

Accusing the Delhi government of "total failure" in containing onion prices, Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel said, "The Delhi government has totally mismanaged the onion crisis. That is why we have decided to help people by selling onion at reasonable rates."

Even the Arvind Kejariwal's newly-formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), that is all set to debut in Delhi Assembly elections this year, has set up "special stalls" to sell onion at Rs 25 and Rs 40 per kg, which has been described as a "political gimmick" by the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

The AAP candidate Farhana Anjum from Delhi's Ballimaran area has setup several stalls across her constituency in an attempt to bring the essential commodity back to the dining table of the common man.

The teary-eyed government

On being asked when onion prices would cool down, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said: "I don't know about prices but I know about the crop condition. The crop in Nashik has been affected due to drought. As on today, the overall crop condition is good."

While the Sheila Dikshit-led Delhi government struggles to stabilise the onion prices with "teary eyes", at the same time, it is also worried that what "impact" it will have on upcoming elections in Delhi that are scheduled to be held in November this year.

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